Family and friends of 19-year-old Hayley Howard are trying to figure out what went wrong. The UNO student was found dead inside her car in Irish Bayou Wednesday evening. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano has the latest.
Five days after disappearing authorities find 19-year-old Hayley Howard’s body. The UNO student was still inside her silver Toyota Corolla that was pulled out from Irish Bayou.
“We’re investigating it right now as a fatal accident. We’re incredible sorry for the loss to this wonderful family,” says NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas.
Howard’s body was found just one mile West of the Irish Bayou exit, not far from the exit sign.
“This is all preliminary, but it appears that she veered to the right off of the interstate system and rode on the grass until she hit the water. The original scene investigation is very consistent with that type of accident,” explains Chief Serpas.
Hayley Howard disappeared early Saturday morning. She was last seen dropping off a friend at UNO at around 2 a.m. Howard then spoke to her boyfriend to tell him she was heading to Slidell after some people had helped her change a flat tire. Hours later her phone pinged by Irish Bayou.
Howard’s father and mother were nearby at a command center when her body was recovered. We spoke to them before they got the devastating news.
“It’s been overwhelming but incredible, and we just want to thank everybody for anything that you have done; even if it was just a phone call or a text, “I’m thinking about you.” We really appreciate that and that’s giving us the strength to carry on,” says Hayley Howard’s mother Cindy Howard.
19-year-old Hayley Howard was from Slidell. She was studying pharmacy. Her parents say she was a loving and carrying girl.
“Just seeing the good in people and almost a little naive, but not thinking the way some of us do, but that is very typical of her, just seeing the good in people and wanting to go thank them. She’s a very wonderful young lady,” says Cindy Howard.
Authorities say they will inspect Howard’s car. The Orleans Parish Coroner’s office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.